I have mentioned more than once that Barbara Kean, no matter what she pretends or even what the series tries to suggest, is not a criminal mastermind.
She maybe should take some lessons from people who are actually good at that.
See, if Barbara wanted to learn to be a criminal mastermind, there are some good role models to choose from as displayed by this very episode. Normally, I might go with Professor Pyg, but Gordon spends this episode trying to figure out the mystery of who Pyg is…for some reason. Like, he’s in custody. Why does it matter? Regardless, Gordon goads Pyg into using a Southern accent, there’s some scenes that show how, let’s say, pliable Pyg’s face is, and even though they figure out Pyg’s real name, he still escaped in the end. Maybe he comes back. Maybe he doesn’t.
But what about the actual masterminds Barbara can learn from?
Well, there’s Lee, dealing with a crime lord in the Narrows. Ed keeps offering advice, and she keeps rejecting that advice in favor of her own ideas. And, quite frankly, Lee is maybe a mastermind, but not much of a criminal one. Her ideas involve trying to bluff her way through a little bronchitis to see if the crime lord will believe he has some disease that only she can cure. When that doesn’t work, she poisons the guy and says he can have the antidote if he’ll just go away. See? That’s smart. She even points out to Ed that his brain is physically fine since his observations were always good. He’s got a mental block. That means Ed is thinking he’s Two-Face again, but what are you gonna do?
Then there’s Sofia. She thought she could use Gordon to bring down Penguin. Small problem there: Jim doesn’t do gang wars and instead cuts a deal with Penguin to just ship Sofia out of town. But Sofia is a criminal mastermind and has Barbara, along with Tabitha and Selina, kidnap young Martin. That brings Penguin out to surrender or the kid gets it. Penguin appears to agree and sends Martin back to the car. So, Sofia outplanned Jim Gordon and Penguin…sort of. Penguin then blows up his car so the kid can’t be a pawn again and starts a gang war.
Which actually shows why Penguin is a criminal mastermind, because while Gotham did show Ra’s al-Ghul murder a kid, Penguin loved little Martin and actually faked that death before sending Martin out of town to keep the boy alive and safe. Granted, Barbara doesn’t know that last part since she’s on Sofia’s side, but that’s some pretty good planning. Yes, it is Gotham-level nuts, but it’s good planning.
So, that’s three people and a Pyg that are better criminal masterminds than Barbara. Is Barbara going to learn that? Eh, probably not. If the series would let her, I probably wouldn’t mind so much. Then again, I am not sure why the others have let Barbara live this long…
So, to recap, a lot of good plans here, but none came from Barbara. Somehow, she will continue to think she’s on that level. Really, she should just be taking notes at this point.